Today we were up early to make sure everything was ready for our judging interview at 9:30, which went well.
Then there was time for practice matches before lunch, including our match with Gong Invaders who are an Aussie team we’ve gotten to know.
This afternoon was Qualification matches. Leia is doing well, but at this level of competition, you need two good robots to stand a chance. Our first match of the day was with a team 20870 Matrix from Mumbai, India. It was our high score for the season of 265 points.
The second match was a tough with our partner largely disabled in the substation making it very difficult for us to get cones to score.
The third match was against the US team, 8644 Brainstormers, who were one of the top teams at Worlds. Both FIX IT and our partner 11022 from Romania were excited to win that match. Currently we’re ranked 10th, which is great at a very competitive event!
With the competition wrapped up for the day, we had a quick dinner and headed to the Walangari Karntarwara Aboriginal show. It turned out to be an audience participation event!
The night wrapped up with a Trivia contest. Two of our team members came in second and third!
And just in case we forgot where we were, there interesting birds to see on campus and even visiting our hotel balcony!
Personal highlights of the day
Garrett – Winning our third match against The Brainstormers, we were not very confident but we pulled it off.
Max – We meet a really fun competitor from India! His name is Pai and he’s part of team Matrix 20870
Bryce – Since I was called to the field due to log file issues after matches ended, I was able to take some beautiful robot photos with the field in the background!
Food/beverage highlights of the day
Garrett – Got some brown sugar bubble tea at the university. Pretty good! Max – I had a lamington for the first time ever! It was decent.
Today was the opening day for the Asia-Pacific Championships in Sydney Australia!
Our team got checked in, set up our pit, and completed robot inspection. Tonight was a friendship celebration with teams doing short presentations on their team, country, or whatever they wanted to share. It was lots of fun and there was lots of dancing!
Max- Seeing the name of one of the teams at APOC. It was a team from India named Team Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Bryce – Rekindling the tradition of dancing with other teams at the friendship celebration! Many teams had dancing related presentations and asked the audience to join in!
Amren – I loved all the performances done by all the teams during the friendship celebration. A majority of them tied into their own cultures, but my personal favourite was the team that played Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns n’ Roses live with a drum set and 2 guitars. As someone that does many musical performances, that was really, really good!
Garrett – I was so happy to meet up with the Gong Invaders! I took a picture with them too!
Food/beverage highlights of the day
Max- the fruit punch I had. It was very good.
Amren – I absolutely demolished a spicy chicken burrito at one of the restaurants in the mall. I also got a student discount on my drink!
Bryce – I made my own burrito and then ate it at a Mexican restaurant in the mall. I got eyed by the employees…
Garrett – The KFC (dirty bird) fries tastes like chicken! It’s because they use the same seasoning on the chicken as they do the fries.
Our first couple of days were packed with sightseeing trips to help everyone adjust to the Australian day. We’ve got one day left before the competition, so it was a more relaxed day with everyone picking their own sights to see.
Max- This morning, I stopped at Darling Harbor on my way to a gluten-free bakery. The food was amazing! After the bakery, I went to a massive mall in central Sydney. There were lots of cool luxury watches. Tonight I shopped at a market in Sydney’s Chinatown. There were so many vendors!
Garrett & Bryce- We started our morning with a short harbor walk through downtown followed by a ferry ride to the Sydney Opera House. After circling the Opera House we stopped for an enjoyable lunch nearby.
Once our meals were finished we took another scenic ferry to Manly beach. We ran down the beach then took a shoeless walk across the peninsula to take a swim at the much sunnier and larger beach. Bryce was able to swim immediately, but Garrett forgot his swimsuit, which prompted a speed shopping expedition in order to find some swim shorts for him to wear. Jumping the waves and body surfing was worth the ride!
Lastly, during our ferry home we bounced over some large waves, while the sun set beautifully over the Sydney skyline.
Amren – I woke up in the same house I’ve been staying at. Went shopping with the Dad and bought some warmer clothes since I underpacked for the Australian winter. Had a Greek food lunch at the mall’s food court, then went to Sydney opera house. I accidentally bought an $8 bottle of juice. It tasted really good, but not worth the $8. I kept touring around, bought some souvenirs for friends back home, and had dinner at an Indian restaurant with the family friends and my dad. Long day, but super fun.
Today we went to see the Jenolan Caves. Our day started with a train to the Blue Mountains (Katoomba Station) and then a bus ride up to the caves. Our tour went through the Diamond and Imperial Caves. After the caves, we were able to stop out one of the Blue Mountain lookouts.
Team member highlights for the day
Amren: The blue mountains national park stop on the way back from the caves was super cool and reminded me of paradise falls from the movie “Up”.
Bryce: In the Jenolan Caves we saw helictites, which are limestone formations that defy gravity! It was a mystery for a long time how they formed. If you look careful at the photo, you can see what looks like little white stalactites that grow sideways.
Max: Seeing the Wallaby (it was very cute). I’d only heard about them before, and it was not what I was expecting.
Garrett: The rock formations that look like curtains, drapes or shawls. There was even one that looked like strip of bacon.
Traveling with a group of teenagers means that there are food/beverage highlights too!
Max: Donut (very yummy and very gluten free)
Garrett: Ridiculously good flat white coffee from a small cafe in Katoomba.
Amren: For lunch at the caves, the hamburger burger had beets in it?!?!?!?
The Victoria Scrimmage was held at St. Margaret’s on Nov. 28, 2022. It was very exciting to see all of the teams in person and to check out their robots before the matches started.
It felt like we were queueing constantly. It felt like there was a lot we were bringing to the queueing table (beacon, sleeve, robot, driver station) which was stressful but the matches were very fun and overall it was great to see some of the rookie/underdog teams absolutely dominate with all of the experience and skill they had obtained. It goes to show that you can always compete no matter how long you’ve been involved with FIRST.
In September we went to visit both Amazon and Microsoft Headquarters in Seattle.
The Amazon Campus is located in the middle of downtown Seattle. It was sometimes a challenge to know what was or was not Amazon, but almost everything was!
“The amazon spheres were amazing. They looked very futuristic and filled with plants. There were lots of meeting rooms and creative spaces inside. It was like an environment simulation”
Next up was Microsoft. The Redmond campus was giving us some serious college campus vibes. There was a soccer field, restaurants, and well, people. It was quite high tech, with wireless chargers at every bench and seating area. It seemed like Microsoft was trying to centralize their employees’ lives, with restaurants, bike shops, and many other facilities on-site. They let us play a round of Apex Legends.